One of the great things that have come from the last many decades is we have specialists in the overall tennis performance field. We have:
- Tennis Coaches
- Tennis Skills Coaches
- Tennis Physical Therapists
- Tennis Performance Coaches
- Tennis Mental Strategist…
They all add so much value to the player and the sport.
What’s important is that we all understand the role of the other.
I, personally, am a tennis performance coach who can improve speed, strength, mobility…
I am not going to touch ground strokes, serves, volleys. That’s out of my lane.
I will also not touch game strategy and tactics on when, where, and how to hit the ball. That’s way out of my lane.
What is troublesome is when coaches can’t recognize what I do doesn’t have to be specific to tennis’s movement, but it can be.
In other words, I can have my tennis players perform footwork drills that mimic what they would do on the court. But to improve the speed, quickness, and accuracy of those specific footwork patterns, I can do good general foundation footwork.
You see, my job is about improving the qualities that surround the specifics of tennis play and movement. So, even though I don’t work on tennis ground strokes, I can improve the force by which the ground stroke can be produced.
I don’t work on a tennis player’s chasing a lob or drop shot by me feeding them balls. I do improve the speed and quickness at which they can perform those tasks.
Not understanding this is damaging because it can confuse the player. Let me give you an example. If I tell a player to drive their arms when sprinting, yet the tennis coach says you will never run like that in tennis, so don’t do it… the player is stuck in the middle.
My job is to help improve quality through sprinting, not to improve the tennis movement with a racquet in their hand at that moment.
Another example. My tennis players use tubing to perform a pallof core exercise with completely straight legs and a narrow stance. This might seem counter-intuitive to the position a tennis player needs to play in. Once again, I am improving the quality of movement by attacking specific areas on the body, not the actual tennis movement when they chase after a ball. It is a method to gain improvement.
When tennis sports psychologists advise a tennis player to close their eyes and breath slowly, and regain composure, it is a strategy to help them play better. Yet, it isn’t something the player would do while trying to hit the ball. It’s designed, though, to help them hit the ball better as they clear their mind and focus better beforehand.
Tennis is a great sport with so many talented coaches and support coaches. We need to respect each role and understand the role is essential even if it doesn’t come dressed in a racquet, tennis shorts, and tennis shoes.
The CTSS is a course with a very specific goal of improving the tennis ATHLETE. The tennis PLAYER must have other types of coaching to stroke the ball, clear their mind, and deal with an injury. My job is to educate coaches, players, and all who care to know how proper speed and quickness are developed, so the tennis player has more success due to movement.